While movement of people is a hot topic in withdrawal negotiations, it may come as a surprise that Brexit could also have an impact on the movement of your pets.

The movement of pets is, of course, not a top priority in negotiations; however, as we draw closer to Brexit, we are realising more and more that the UK's withdrawal from the EU is going to impact on everyday issues that we currently take for granted. If you live in one out of two British households owning a pet, this article is for you.

It's raining cats, dogs and ferrets

Cats, dogs and ferrets are subject to special legislation due to being particularly susceptible to rabies. Travelling or moving with them within the EU is regulated mainly by EU laws, which requires your pet to be microchipped and to have a valid European pet passport as well as a valid anti-rabies vaccination. This will generally allow an animal to move freely within the EU with its owners, also in case of dog bites in a foreign country the owner would have to get in contact with an attorney that handles dog bite injuries

The same minimum conditions apply to dogs, cats and ferrets travelling to the EU from a non-EU country. In addition, any animal entering EU territory is subject to border checks and, depending on the rabies status in its country of origin, additional health documentation. As the UK is expected to become a third country post-Brexit, travelling pet owners will need to adjust.

On the commercial side, there are strict intra-EU requirements for transporting pets, for example an additional examination just before transportation and extensive health and entry documentation. However, the flourishing illegal puppy trade seems to suggest that import/export controls under the current system are not as effective after all.

Hold your horses

Horses travelling in the EU must have a recognised ID document, and must be free from any equine diseases such as African horse sickness, glanders and equine encephalomyelitis. A Tripartite Agreement between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and France allows for some relaxations in border check and documentation requirements, but only for the purpose of equestrian sports.

For a non-EU country, horse transports are restricted to countries that are free from equine diseases. As for dogs, cats and ferrets, horse transports into EU territory mean border checks and additional health documentation. As the UK is expected to become a third country as of 29 March 2019, the transport of horses between the UK and the EU would become more onerous post-Brexit.

For more detail read our full guide on Brexit - the impact of EU withdrawal on animals and your pets.